Spoilers ahead for “Crossfire,” the latest episode of The CW’s Supergirl!
The short version: Cadmus releases a bunch of alien guns to street thugs to start an anti-alien movement. It kinda works. James decides to dress up in a hoodie with a baseball bat to be a vigilante. It doesn’t really work. Alex starts to explore her feelings for Maggie. Oh, and the Cadmus leader is Lena Luthor’s mom!
The good: Alien politics, Mon-El, alien gun wackiness
Trent: Fresh off President Lynda Carter’s decision to allow alien amnesty, Cadmus jumps into the public consciousness to start sowing anger and resentment among humans. It parallels a similar story Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is telling this season (though this type of story isn’t anything new, of course), and it’s great to see these shows use the otherness of being an alien to explore the real-life racism and bigotry we regular ol’ humans can generate and face all on our own. Seeing these alien weapons hit the streets was an interesting turn of events, and it’s just another glimpse into how weird and wild the alien universe of Supergirl might be. Plus, crazy floaty gun? That was awesome.
Mon-El also had a solid story this week as Kara tried to assimilate him into an entry-level gig at Cat Co. (complete with a laser vision haircut). Turns out, not everyone is made for the corporate life. They also tackle the fact that Mon-El is ridiculously handsome head on, as Ms. Tessmacher (nice throwback DC name there, by the way) develops quite a crush on the new guy at the office. It was a nice little story for Kara to realize she can’t mold him into a citizen (and hero) just like her, and it provided some levity to keep the show loose. Mon-El is literally a fish out of water from the party planet, and he’s loving every minute of it.
One other note: Great to see Wynn and James get to bro-out. Been a while since they really shared any screen time. Thankfully, looks like they’ll be sharing a lot more.
Dany: This week is all about Alex Danvers slowly realizing that maybe, rather than not being into romance, she's just not into dudes. Her ongoing plot with Maggie Sawyer is easily one of, if not the, best new element of Supergirl this season. We've watched Alex warm to Maggie, and now, for the first time, we see Alex imply that she sees Maggie as being potentially more than just a friend. And Alex's struggle with being the perfect daughter and the anxiety she feels over acknowledging that she's gay and being open about it is played in a way that's familiar to so many of us LGBT folks here in the real world. Alex certainly isn't the first person in the world to be so cut off from their own feelings for the perceived comfort of those around them that she doesn't even realize she's gay. And for all the times it's nice to see confident out queer people on television, I confess that Alex's story feels a great deal more authentic and connected to my own and to the stories of so many people I'm close with.
And Alex is really on point this week, also adding that necessary voice of common sense for Kara, who's desperately trying to force Mon-el into a Kara-shaped box. Alex remembers what it was like to finally have a sibling she could teach everything to, only to discover they are destined to walk very different paths. Alex Danvers: mature adult who's able to acknowledge she still has a lot to figure out. She certainly felt like my super girl this week.
The bad: James’ origin story as a hero felt rushed, the ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ party
Dany: The villains of the week really set their alien weapons to maximum ho-hum this week. The revelation that the leader of Cadmus is Lena Luthor's mother aside, these bros who use super guns to super steal from super banks and other super sneaky stuff had neither the menace nor the charisma to inspire feelings of stakes or excitement. And their deaths didn't inspire much in the way of pathos, either.
And while I was thoroughly charmed by Maggie and Alex, there was this moment where Wynn and Lena come out from under the table where they did their party science and Wynn jokes that they "weren't doing anything under there." Let me tell you, show -- do not try to make Wynn and Lena a thing. That just sounds dreadful. I think we all know that Lena Luthor already has great sexual chemistry with someone on this show and that someone is Kara. Don't be afraid to double down on your gayness, Supergirl. Pink kryptonite for all!
Trent: We already knew they’d be turning James Olsen into the hero the Guardian, and boy they didn’t waste any time getting there. This show is obviously trying to pull a page from the Arrow-verse playbook, by bringing some of the core cast into the vigilante lifestyle. But this just felt like to much, too soon. James suddenly feels inadequate after taking a punch and getting his father’s camera broken in a bank robbery, so he decides to put on a hoodie and take a baseball to these alien gun-toting thugs? C’mon, man. There’s a difference in reckless and just plain dumb. James should’ve gotten himself killed in the first tussle. But he does have a black belt, apparently? This isn’t a bad story to explore, and James’ reasoning of always being in the shadows of heroes made a lot of sense. But ease into it. Have James stop a mugger, and start to explore this desire over a few episodes. He went from zero to soon-to-be superhero in one episode.
It’s been well-established that Martian Manhunter can change his appearance to look like Kara, when she needs to show up at the same place as Supergirl. So why not just get him to lend a hand, here? Pulling the Mrs. Doubtfire was cute, but it didn’t make a lot of sense when you have a shapeshifter on staff.
Quote of the night:
“She can fly. You're just tall!” - Wynn
Cadmus is certainly making its presence known, and this anti-alien agenda will be an interesting thread for the season. The big reveal that the Cadmus leader is actually Lena Luthor’s mother wasn’t much a shock (you knew she had to tie back in there somehow, right?), but that should be fun connection to explore. Lena’s burgeoning friendship with Kara has been one of the better additions to this season, and it’s interesting to have a Luthor playing against type. Also, she had a little chemistry with Wynn, right? Was that just me?
Next week: There’s a giant monster? Or something? Bring it on!